Here's Another Place You Can Be
When our contributor Sarah O'Kelley first mentioned that she was opening a restaurant called the Glass Onion, we were pretty excited. The concept is right up our alley: Southern food from local purveyors done right. O'Kelley and her partners Charles Vincent and Chris Stewart have been renovating the old Book Exchange at 1219 Savannah Hwy. in West Ashley and have a solid concept — midscale comfort food. They state their mission pretty eloquently: "We all grew up with food as a focal point in our lives and want to remind customers of the simple joy brought about by perfectly cooked fried chicken, hearty gumbo, crisp homemade pickles, and soft buttery cookies."
O'Kelley and Vincent first met in New Orleans as line cooks at Emeril's Delmonico. He went on to become a sous chef there and she started writing and testing recipes for Emeril's TV shows and cookbooks. After Katrina, the two washed up on Folly Beach. O'Kelley began writing for Edible Lowcountry and City Paper in addition to holding down gigs at Ted's Butcherblock while Vincent found a place on the line at FIG. It was there that they first encountered Chris Stewart, an Alabama native who came here for Johnson & Wales and worked at SNOB and then FIG. The three share similar goals and decided to embark on a new venture together.
They've been hard at work planning the menu, which features such delectable choices as fried chicken livers, pot roast po' boy, braised pork shank with grits and greens, and desserts like Sarah's chocolate orange pound cake. The prices are reasonable (sandwiches: $6-$9, plates: $9-13) and the goal is to be open by March. Visit www.ilovetheglassonion.com for more. —Stephanie Barna
Mellow Mushroom Looks to Expand
Back in 2002, the guys at Mellow Mushroom on King Street had a great idea — let's put a deck on the roof so our diners can enjoy Charleston's temperate weather and we can expand our business by offering outdoor dining. The powers that be at the city (the Board of Zoning Appeals) quashed that notion after Mayor Riley sent a last-minute letter to the board opposing the expansion. But now that the college has built a huge building directly behind them, Mellow co-owner Michael Shemtov thought it was time to reintroduce the idea. He needs to get a variance because zoning requires additional parking spaces when square footage is added. After speaking with the mayor about the process and having a city employee survey their plans and property, Shemtov was feeling pretty confident that the city would be in favor. But then, minutes before the BZA's Dec. 18 meeting, he got word that the city employee who had surveyed his property was sick and wouldn't be able to present the city's opinion on the project. Other city employees were reviewing the file to decide whether the city would support or oppose the variance. Rather than roll the dice, Shemtov decided to defer the application so he could have time to meet with the city's planning department and make his case to them. Last week, he did that and left feeling pretty optimistic. On Tues. Jan. 8, he presented his case to the BZA and had a handful of people there to speak on the Mushroom's behalf. We'll give you an update on how it turns out next week. —Stephanie Barna